communications social networking

Google Thing #1: Focus on the user and all else will follow

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This is a guest post by Dave Adamson in the blog series Google’s 10 Things We Know to be True.

When I became the social media director at one of the largest churches in the US, I felt like a mosquito at a nudist colony – I knew what I wanted to do, but didn’t know where to start.

What I wanted to do was focus on the people using our social media channels. My vision was to use social media to connect people to our church, so we could lead them into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Now like most churches, North Point tracks metrics in all key areas of growth. And considering the investment of resources the church was putting into social media, I knew I needed to track things like the number followers we had, likes, reach, engagement, comments, shares, retweets and tags.

But my underlying principal when tracking analytics is simple: Numbers only matter because people count.

(If that resonates with you, Tweet it)

This focus on people defines our online strategy, and has transformed our social media from being a megaphone – to a telephone.

Instead of posts that only allow one-way communication on social media (come to this service, give to that cause, volunteer here, this event is on this date), we started listening and engaging with our users. We used our posts to invite people into a conversation (how can we pray for you, how can we equip you, what do you need to take the next steps in your spiritual journey?).

Not surprisingly, this shift has produced a dramatic increase in all our key metrics over the past six months. Our reach, engagement, followers – in fact all key areas of social media measurement – have gone up and to the right.

Whether you like it or not, social media is the new greeter at your church.

Users get their first impression of your church from social media – and what you post tells them you’re either interested in people or products.

The churches that focus on people not only connect with their community for one hour every week at services, they use social media to stay connected for the other 167 hours too.

These are the churches that are high-tech AND high-touch.


  • How about you?  Are you more focused on people or numbers?
  • How do you stay focused on people in social media when its so easy to slip into making it about numbers?

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    About the author


    Husband. Dad. Disciple. Aussie. Photographer. Wanna-be rockstar. Social Media Director and Pastor @NorthPoint Church in Atlanta, GA


    • Great post Dave! I know a lot of organizations still think of social media as a megaphone. They look for ways to automate the broadcast of their content on as many social channels as possible. Personally, even though I know social media is about people, when I get busy I have a tendency to talk first and listen if I have time.

      Thanks for challenging us to stay focused on people!

    • I am genuinely concerned that social media has led to very short attention span for most of the younger generation; especially after the mobile phone became such an attachment.
      We, every ONE of us; especially those of us who claim to follow Christ, really need to take the time to think about HOW WOULD GOD WANT TO USE THE TALENTS HE HAS BLESSED ME WITH.
      Our country and society face major fundamental challenges like materialism, self focus, etc…that have NO SIMPLE solutions, and definitely NO QUICK ONES. May God continue to bless and guide those who are committed to Him.

      • Hi Vic, I share your concern that many of us are living very distracted lives. I don't think phones or social media are going to go away, so it'd be good if we think about, talk about, and experiment with boundaries and best practices to protect against their negative impact. But then also think about, talk about, and experiment with ways they can be used honor God and help people.

    • WOW aussiedave, although this article published in 2015, but still very useful and creative today, nice, and have you update new article recent? Will be glad to enjoy again~

    • Hi aussiedave, any great update again:) Your article is great and full of very useful information of google.

    • I still think maybe use some tools for the social medial maybe a way for our job 🙂 the problem is now not tools suit for this kind of job 🙂

    • Recently no new article about social network updated, does it mean that social network is not important for SEO? 🙂